The Spectacle Blog

Saudi Arabia Fears Iraq

By on 2.24.06 | 12:45AM

A fresh intelligence source identifies the paradoxical motives of Saudi Arabia with regard the turmoil in Iraq.

On one hand, the Saudi princes gain by having an American coalition stabilize Iraq and create a buffer of a unified, resolute, commercially sturdy nation of Sunnis and Shia to block the cunning advances of Tehran’s totalitarianism. The oil-soaked eastern side of Saudi Arabia is dominated by Shia Arabs just like the oil-soaked part of southern Iraq, and constructing a self-satisfied, aggrandized, Shia-dominated state in Iraq would seem to be the best answer to Persian (non-Arab) Iranian aggression.

Iran Attacks

By on 2.24.06 | 12:04AM

Best signals source points to the Samarra mosque bombing in Iraq as the launch operation of the Iranian counteroffensive. You will recall the retreat of Ahmadinejad some weeks back, out of sight for ten days while he participated in national exercises and war planning. First indications are that the war is now launched.

Rather than wait to be attacked by the US fleet and air, Iran has attacked -- using all available surrogates to damage and intimidate the US-led coalition that is driving the IAEA referral recommendation to the UN Security Council.

In Port Deal, Clinton Ships Passing in the Night?

By on 2.23.06 | 5:03PM

It appears that a number of people are already profiting from the sale of some operations management of U.S. ports. But it ain't the port guys.

Already, it has been established that former Sen. Bob Dole is, well, on the port dole. No surprise, then, that former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is also apparently drawing a check (someone should ask her just when she began drawing a check on this deal, as it appears it was some time ago, according to some Senate sources we talked to this afternoon).

But most interesting is the gossip among some Democratic Senators, who can't figure out why their colleague, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, is so hot and bothered by the port deal, since they believe her husband, the former president, was consulted and received fees for said consulting on the port management sale.

Re: Brooks

By on 2.23.06 | 3:00PM

Yes, Dave, he's basically right. But I wonder if, when he first heard about the ports deal without hearing the details, his reaction wasn't the same jolt of shock that all the rest of us felt. His language shows a weird lack of empathy for the very understandable concerns that this news raised at first blush. Compare his perspective to Jonah Goldberg's LA Times column: Goldberg is also critical of the hysteria over the ports deal, but unlike Brooks he doesn't descend into a reactive hysteria of his own.

Wal-Mart to the Dark Side

By on 2.23.06 | 2:52PM

So Wal-Mart will offer more extensive health care coverage to its employees after being bullied into doing so in Maryland, and with similar laws on the horizon.

But surprise, surprise, they're now advocating that the government bear the burden of such rising costs.

At the same time, Wal-Mart Chief Executive Lee Scott said Thursday that employers cannot continue to meet the rising costs of health care and urged a government-business partnership to find an answer. ...

Under mounting criticism from organized labor and other groups, Wal-Mart last fall offered new lower-premium insurance aimed at getting more of its work force on company plans.

It's either a sop to the extortionist Democrats or good business... or both! As David Hogberg wrote last year, CEOs pushing for government-run health care is a growing and foolish trend.

Blame Americans First

By on 2.23.06 | 12:15PM

Poor David Brooks. Remaking the Middle East is not turning out as easily as he had hoped. Today in his column, as last night on the Lehrer NewsHour, he blasts away at the "mass hysteria" that has erupted in the U.S. in response to news of the UAE ports deal. His notions of national greatness apparently never had a chance so long as a "reactionary" ("Whatever. You use the word. I won't use the word," Lehrer responded) like Michael Savage had any say. But here's the giveaway quote:

"[T]he point for politicians is at some point you have to be a statesman, you have got to resist when you get this popular tide and nobody on Capitol Hill is doing, that except John McCain."

"Except John McCain," Lehrer echoed. (Sigh.)

Actually, there was an earlier giveaway quote, in which Brooks began with a wonderful geographic name drop, "I just came back from Doha where you came across --" At which point Lehrer had him identify Doha as being in Qatar, right next to Dubai. Brooks then continued:

Isolationist Fever

By on 2.23.06 | 10:58AM

Is at the heart of the domestic opposition to the Dubai ports deal, David Brooks writes. Rarely does the erstwhile conservative come down so strongly on any issue. I think he's wisely reserved his ammo for when it really matters:

But let's be clear: the opposition to the acquisition by Dubai Ports World is completely bogus.

The deal would have no significant effect on port security. ... Nor would the deal radically alter the workplace. ... Nor would the deal be particularly new in the world of global shipping. ...

If They Don’t Like the Cartoons

By on 2.23.06 | 10:25AM

The "Arab street" certainly won't like this hilarious video by TAS subscriber and loyal online reader Paul Kotik (aka Faul bin Qawtiq). Paul tells me Fa'ul's next dispatch will be an investigation of the Florida nip/tuck joints where terrorists get work done.

Rhode Island Succeeds in Lead Paint Extortion

By on 2.23.06 | 10:12AM

A Rhode Island jury found three lead paint makers (back in the day lead paint makers) liable for the harms of their product yesterday. The suit was brought by the state, so the decision opens the door for other states to squeeze paint companies for health, education, and cleanup programs they don't want to fund.

Re: Duty & Dershowitz

By on 2.23.06 | 10:03AM

Dave, Alan Dershowitz is on a roll. In the Boston Globe he whacks away without mercy at the Harvard clique that's finally succeeded in making a Trotsky of Larry Summers.

Max Weber once wrote of their type, 'For of the last stage of cultural development, it might well be truly said: "Specialists without spirit, sensualists without heart; this nullity imagines that it has attained a level of civilization never before achieved."'